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About Goal Beyond

Learn more about our mandate and leadership.

Our Story

Goal Beyond is a 501 (c) (3) organization leveraging multi-sectoral capital to unlock academic achievement and economic mobility for all learners. Since 2021, Goal Beyond primarily offered scholarships and student resources to support these objectives. 

Today, Goal Beyond has a broader and deeper scope focused on the entire learner continuum from starting their academic journey to post-matriculation and beyond. We are dedicated to the success of each learner to complete their studies, pursue their desired career path, and unlock the full value of their earning potential.

Our unique operating model, based in extensive cross-sector partnerships and research-supported programming, harnesses a targeted approach designed to afford learners a pathway to wealth after their academic investment.

Senior Leadership

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Tochi Izegbu

Chief Operating Officer

Tobechukwu “Tochi” Izegbu is an executive with over 15 years of experience spanning the public, non-profit, and private sectors. She has worked in deeply com­plex global environments as a leader of matrixed teams to deliver world-class, high-impact solutions - programs totaling over $30B cumulatively - at the Millennium Challenge Corporation, Africare, the United Nations Foundation, Business for Social Responsibility (BSR), and Goldman Sachs.


Tochi has held management roles in advisory, sales, operational, and technical func­tions and currently serves as Chief Operating Officer for Goal Beyond. As COO, Tochi oversees all functions to include strategy, capital mobilization and financial management, operations, compliance, branding and marketing, as well as partnership development. 


Tochi graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Global Affairs and Chinese Studies from George Mason University after beginning her studies in Lille, France.  She holds a World Executive MBA in Entrepreneurship from George Washington University.  She speaks fluent French and in her spare time, Tochi continues to strengthen her Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, and Serbian skills.  

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Tristan Fleming

Co-Founder &



Tristan Fleming has spent more than two decades in education finance, focusing on the positive impact of education on economic mobility and wealth building.   He is currently the Chief Impact Officer and General Counsel of Goal Investment Group and its two primary operating companies, Goal Solutions and Ascent Funding.   In that role, Tristan and his teams are responsible for the annual impact report, philanthropic initiative management, outcomes tracking, and all legal affairs of the company and its subsidiaries - including litigation, compliance, legal strategy, and corporate governance. 


Previously, Tristan spent 9 years as General Counsel of GCO Education Loan Funding Corp., a student loan company with over $6B in assets under management at its peak. Prior to GCO, Tristan was an associate at the law firm of Thacher Proffitt & Wood, LLP in New York City, starting out in the Corporate and Financial Institutions group and then specializing in private student loan securitizations. He has also spent time working pro bono for various not-for-profit and charitable organizations, focusing on corporate governance and litigation management.   Tristan is a graduate of the University of Virginia and the Georgetown University Law Center, where he published an article on bilingual education in public schools in the Georgetown Immigration Law Journal.

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Ryan Gray

Co-Founder &

Chief Financial Officer

Ryan Gray is a 20-year veteran of the consumer finance industry and serves as the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer for Ascent Funding.  He was previously the Chief Financial Officer and Head of Structured Finance Operations at Goal Solutions where he led the debt and equity financing efforts that supported the investment and lending businesses. Having spent his career in accounting, finance, treasury and capital markets roles, Ryan brings rigorous financial acumen, analytics, systems and controls that has enabled the growth of the Structured Finance Operations platform to over $25b of assets under management and has been involved in structuring over $10B of student, auto and solar loan asset-backed securitizations, warehouse financing and forward flow agreements. Ryan is a skilled leader in building teams in rapid growth financial operations which include Capital One and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Board of Directors

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Ken Ruggiero

Board Chair, Co-Founder & CEO


Ken is a veteran and innovator in education finance with more than 20 years spent leading teams that create meaningful change and positive returns for students, schools, employees and investors.  During his tenure at Goal Financial, from 2003-2007, the company originated more than $8 billion of private and government guaranteed student loans, becoming a top 10 student-loan provider in the country. After the company’s exit from the lending space in 2008, Ken founded Goal Solutions and eventually, Goal Investment Group, a family of financial technology companies which serve the consumer finance market.


Goal Solutions services and manages over $26 billion in consumer loans. Since 2013, Goal Investment Management has invested over $240 million of its capital in over 60 transactions.  Since 2015, Ken has served as Co-Founder and CEO of Ascent, a student focused education finance company which seeks to revolutionize the way students plan, pay, and succeed in school. Ascent has made over $1B of loans to 100,000 students attending US Colleges and skills training programs. Ken received his B.B.A from the University of Massachusetts and his M.B.A from Columbia University.

Michael A. Kartalija (Belch)

Board Member

Michael Belch is an Emeritus Professor of Marketing at San Diego State University (SDSU) where he teaches integrated marketing communications (IMC) and is the Director of the Centre for Integrated Marketing Communications. During his tenure at SDSU he has received numerous outstanding professor awards. In addition to SDSU he has taught in France, Spain, China, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Greece, Croatia, Slovenia, and the Netherlands. Dr. Belch has co-authored numerous articles in academic journals on advertising, consumer behavior, and international marketing.

Additionally, he co-authored the number one IMC textbook, Advertising and Promotion: An Integrated Marketing Communications Perspective with his brother George Belch. The text is now in its 13th edition and is translated into 11 languages.

Professor Belch’s previous employment includes: marketing representative for General Foods Corporation, and he has served as a  consultant to a number of Fortune 500 companies including McDonalds, Whirlpool Corporation, Senco Products,  Viasat, GTI Corporation, IVAC, and May Companies, as well as advertising agencies including Phillips-Ramsey and Dailey & Associates.  Dr.  Belch received his  undergraduate degree in Marketing from the Pennsylvania State University, his MBA from Drexel University and his Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh.

Kim Folsom

Board Member

Kim Folsom is the founder and CEO of Founders First Capital Partners, Inc, (FFCP) a revenue-based investment and advisory support investment platform. FFCP is the largest private provider of growth funding for service-based businesses and the only black and women-led, revenue-based venture platform raising $150M in committed capital.


FFCP is focused on partnering with employer-based, contract revenue generating small businesses ($500K to $10M), to provide them with flexible and non-dilutive funding, expertise and resources to achieve exponential growth in underserved communities. Kim is also the founder of Founders First CDC, a not-for-profit, community development organization and micro-small business accelerator with a mission to help underserved and underrepresented small business owners overcome the challenges they face due to by lack of access to capital and human capital business growth expertise to assist them with increasing business capacity resulting in higher revenue growth and providing more jobs. Since their founding in 2015 the firm has provided funding and/or growth support to approximately 650 companies. As a social entrepreneur, Ms. Folsom is dedicated to leveraging the power of market forces and sound business practices to address disparities in revenue and job growth among businesses led by underrepresented founders.


Prior to Founders First she has raised more than $30 million in institutional committed venture financing, created over 500 premium wage jobs and has founded or served as a key executive for six successful ventures, including showUhow (acquired by Sellpoints), DriveCam (now Lytx) and Seminarsource. Before devoting her energies to entrepreneurship, Ms. Folsom was a tech executive at National Dispatch Center, Luce Forward and Alltel Systematics and Great American First. She earned her MBA degree from the University of Pepperdine and a bachelor’s degree in information systems a minor in economics from San Diego State University.

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